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Home Repair and Maintenance


I wanted to set up my sprinklers on some sort of timer so they would automatically turn on for a little while every day. I went to Home Depot, and they had some fancy looking timers for $40. But there was a more simple looking timer for $25. That was the Melnow Electronic Aqua Timer (3015). It was good for 3 cycles a day, but one cycle would be fine. I read the box, and it looked like programming it would be similar to programming a VCR. Pretty easy for me, but other people might have some difficult. You just turn a little dial, and press a single button. When I got it home, I found it needed a 9 volt battery. I looked through the house, but was able to find one. I kept fogetting to buy a battery, but I finally remembered tonight. I had to remove three phillips head screws to remove the metal back so I could insert the battery. The battery just slides. It didn’t look real secure, but when I put the back on, it didn’t seem to be moving around at all.
I followed the programming instructions to set the current time, the time for the sprinler to turn on, the duration and the frequency. I thought I set it to have the current time approximately 7pm, to have it turn on a 6am, and have it turn on once a day for about 20 minutes. I figured I would see if it worked when I got tomorrow morning. Interestingly, the sprinlkers turned on about 7:30 pm. Hmmm. Maybe I did something wrong. I waited to see if it shut off, but after 30 minutes, I decided something wasn’t right. So I went down, and turned the dial to “off” and it shut off. I set about programming it again. We’ll see what it does.
Okay, the thing turned on around 6am, ran for about 20 minutes, and shut off. Just like I programmed it to do. What I think the problem was, was that after I programmed it the first time, I turned the dial to “ON”. It didn’t turn on right away though maybe because I didn’t have it hooked up to the faucet yet. But did turn on a little while after I hooked it up tot he faucet, and I think was going to stay on. When I programmed it the second time, I left the dial in the final position. This seemed to work.

I have been watering my lawn for about 15 minutes every morning, and it is really starting to look great. When I don’t water it, it begins to look like junk. It’s not like I live in Arizona or something. I live in Rochester NY which gets the same average rainfall as Seattle. Our soil just doesn’t seem to hold the moisture or something. I wondered if they made a timer that I could hook up to my faucet to automatically turn on the water, and run the sprinklers for 10-20 minutes every morning.
I decided to check out Home Depot. I found the sprinkler timers alongside the sprinklers. I had to buy a new sprinlker too as the one that I had sitting near the driveway was destroyed. It looked like it had been run over. My wife said she didn’t do it. It is possible that the mailman did it while delivering packages. Nonetheless, the sprinkler was destroyed, so I bought a new one that has a stake that sticks in the ground. Back to the sprinkler timer. They had a handfull or different models. They had several costing about $40. The had two faucet heads coming out that could be run indendently. But I didn’t need that. The least expensive one had one faucet coming out. It cost $25. Reading the directions, it didn’t sound to hard to program. I bought, and was intending to hook it up that night. But I found it didn’t have a battery. And it took a 9volt battery. 9volt battery? I didn’t think anyone used those anymore! So I still need to buy a 9votl battery, and I keep forgetting. I’ll get one and get that thing hooked up so it waters my lawn every morning! :)

This morning about 4am, our burglar alarm chimes three times saying that a door was opened, or the glass break detector was triggered. We didn’t have the alarm set as if someone were trying to break in, the dog would bark anyway. When the chimes went off, the dog went to investigate. I was sleeping, but my wife woke me up. I gram the big 4 D cell mag lite (a nasty weapon), and went to investigate I found the front door unlock, and standing partly open. I told my wife to get up and help search the house. I closed and locked the door, and turned on the lights. No other doors were unlocked much less open.
The dog was not alarmed at all, just curious. What I figure happened was the last time my wife had let the dog out on the front deck, she had not gotten the door all the way shut, and had not locked it. If she had tried to lock it, the dead bolt would have given her a clue that the door was not shut all the way. And since it was kind of windy otuside last night, and this morning, the wind pushed the door open. Such fun!

I stopped at Home Depot this afternoon. I picked up one more tube of window glaze, and also a few vegetables to plant in the garden.
I also tried to find someone to answer some questions about my collasped deck. But I couldn’t find anyone who seemed to be free to talk to me. A few were helping other people, but some were just walking around quickly talking to each other. I didn’t even see any Home Depot employees in the areas that sold what I thought I might need.
I did however find a book called Decks 1,2,3! I found a couple pages in there on how to attach the ledger board to the foundation. It described using a hammer drill to drill a pilot hole through the wood. Then switching to a masonry bit, and drilling into the mortar between the blocks. Epoxy glue is injected into the hole, and threaded studs are inserted. They are left to sit for 24 hours so the epoxy hardens. The washers and nuts are tighten on the studs to afix the ledger board to the foundation.
I don’t have a hammer drill, but I might be able to borrow one. The book didn’t say what size of threaded studs to use, or what kind of epoxy. And I couldn’t find anyone to tell me, so I will have to do some online research. Maybe I will buy the stuff of Lowes just because Home Depot didn’t help me at all!

Since the ledgerboard for our deck became detached from our house, the center part sunk. It appears to have been very poorly attached. I don’t particularly want to rebuild the entire deck. I have pulled off some of the decking surface boards closest to the house to expose the problem. I hoping to lift the fallen section of deck back up, and reattach the ledgerboard to the foundation.
I already have a 2 ton bottle jack. But I stopped up at Walmart and bought a couple more 2 ton jacks. Now that I have them, and am looking at the collapsed deck, I noticed there is little space under the frame of the deck to fit the jacks. Hmmmm. I have an idea of slipping some rope under the frame in a loop. Then I can use a 4×4 as a fulcrum, and a 2×4 as a lever. I can hook the rope over the 2×4, and maybe lift parts of the frame a bit, and stick some scrap wood under it. This way I can slowly lift the frame until I can get the jacks under it. It will be a process of trial and hopefully not too many errors!!!

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